Nigella seeds

In defence of nigella seeds.

Try it yourself

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Nigella Seeds
Nigella Seeds £3.90

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What is it

Tiny, jet-black seeds from the nigella plant.


Most supermarkets stock nigella seeds. But, if you find yourself in an Indian or Middle Eastern supermarket, you’ll find them in large packs.


Keep them in a cool, dark spot and they’ll keep for a long time. Get rid of them as soon as they start to smell musty.


Nigella seeds are a staple in Indian and Middle Eastern cooking, particularly in dishes like curries, beans, and breads. These seeds have been used for millennia, even being found in Tutankhamun's tomb, likely for medicinal purposes rather than as an ancient Egyptian-style seasoning. On a bagel or not, nigella seeds have stood the test of time.

How to cook with nigella

Subtle yet assertive, exotic yet familiar. Nigella seeds have a wonderful complexity that’s easy to use. A brilliant pantry weapon. But how?

Blank slates

Nigella seeds have a distinctive flavour profile that often takes over. But that doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Scattered over doughs, nigella seeds add a burst of complex and aromatic flavour and textural contrast. They also look rather beautiful on a plain, light backdrop.

Crunch time

Nigella seeds are an obvious Extra Good Thing, especially when included in everything seasoning. Combined with sesame seeds, Aleppo chilli, onion flakes, and garlic granules, they create a balanced blend ready to enhance all your brunch-time favourites. Sprinkle this mix on everything from avocado toast to salad dressings, or on smoked salmon and cream cheese bagels for an extra burst of flavour.

“Chef, what is your favourite way to use nigella seeds?”

Milli always tops her curries with yoghurt, pickled onions, and nigella seeds.